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Archive | February, 2016

Notice of Public Hearing: Cash Basis Annual Financial Report

March 1, 2016

The Cash Basis Annual Financial Report of the Village of Chagrin Falls for 2015 has been completed.

The Report is available for inspection at the Village Hall at 21 West Washington Street, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022 between 8:00 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.

 

David Bloom

Director of Finance

Independent Financial Review Now Available

Finance Town HallChagrin Falls Residents:

This financial review (available for online viewing below) was completed by an independent committee I appointed to review the Village’s operations and financial condition. I wanted a completely independent review of Village finances.  While village employees provided information and discussed operations, no Village employee or elected official took
part in drafting this report.

I am calling a Town meeting so that the committee can discuss their report with all residents and council at one time. The town meeting will be in the evening of March 16 at 7:30 PM in Township Hall 83 North Main Street. The committee will present their report via a brief Power Point presentation then allow whatever time is necessary for questions and answers.

My hope is with the presentation of this independent report and open discussion we can once and for all lay questions regarding the village’s financial condition and operations to rest and beginning the discussion on what we need to do to secure our Village’s future based upon a common understanding of the facts.

William A. Tomko
Mayor of The Village of Chagrin Falls

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Village Budget Explained: Your Streets Department And Costs

2012 Leaf Collection 002

While we call it the Street Department, the maintenance of our streets is a big part of what they do, but a more apt name would be Service Department. What they provide is maintenance of many of the things that gives Chagrin its character. This Village character is what has lead many of us to select Chagrin as the place to live and raise our families.

The total scope of their responsibilities is: 35 lane miles of roads to maintain and snow plow, three main parking lots and ten traffic signals to maintain, nearly 40 acres of cemeteries and parks to cut and maintain, downtown beautification, fall leaf and storm damage pick up, tree lawn tree planting and maintenance and compliance with our state storm water management requirements.

To provide some sense of the scale of this work load, leaf pick up took 224 truckloads and 370 tons of leaves removed from your yards, there are 460 storm water catch basins to clean and maintain, annual rock salt application varies between 1,500 and 2,000 tons per year, and in the summer, daily watering and care to 32 landscape locations and 105 hanging baskets. In addition they provide repair and maintenance to all village owned buildings.

They meet these responsibilities with a full time staff of seven. While holding a core group of seven we do employ up to five seasonal workers as the work load demands. The seven full time employees represent a reduction from the previous level of nine.

The service department’s work is highly seasonal, e.g. snow plowing and grass cutting, so the service department must do many ancillary projects in the seasonal down time. They currently service all the small motors (e.g. lawn mowers) internally and do most vehicle repair and maintenance internally with the exception of certain specialized repairs. We estimate that this saves the village approximately 50-60% when compared to outside service. They have taken over small construction projects such as storm sewer rebuilding and cleaning. We estimate this has saved us around $50,000 in comparison to what we were paying using outside contractors.

The Village does frequent cost comparisons and operational analysis on a variety of services to determine the most effective and cost efficient method to provide service. Currently, the Village is evaluating the use of additional summer student or retiree labor to use in lieu of contract labor to cut the grass in the cemetery. This presents many challenges as the cutting season is 26 weeks long and availability year to year is questionable – but we are looking at it. Projects such as curb repair and storm sewer repair are frequently cost compared between hiring a contractor and doing it with Street Dept. staff. Traffic signal and street light maintenance is another area where cost analysis shows performing some types of jobs in-house saves the Village money. Several years ago, the Street Department started performing more road maintenance work in-house due to the loss of funds for the annual repaving program as well, helping to extend the life of our streets.

Whenever and wherever possible the department shares equipment and services with surrounding communities. We share equipment with Bainbridge saving up to $5,500 over rental costs. We have jointly purchased equipment with Bentleyville saving both communities nearly $9000 each. We use Orange’s aerial truck to service the traffic signals and downtown streetlights saving $5,000 in rental costs. We have evaluated a joint salt storage structure and found the logistics of operations as well as the increased size would not yield any savings and in fact could increase our costs. We trade off plowing border streets with surrounding communities, we do share everything that we can with surrounding communities and use joint buying contracts where ever possible. Joint purchase agreements have saved 5 to 10% of our costs in purchasing salt.

I have heard questions about the amount of time downtown beautification takes; I would like to provide some facts. First of all the downtown business district pays just under 60% of the total income taxes, and just under 50% of the total taxes used to operate the village. The Dogwood Valley Garden Club has provided the total $6800.00 cost of hanging flower baskets, no tax dollar were used. The Volunteer Beautification Committee has provided 23 volunteers who contributed 800 to 850 total hours annually toward downtown flower bed maintenance. The Jaycees contribute over 1700 hours of labor to provide the holiday décor and over 5000 total hours for Blossom and the bunting and flag displays on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day. All of the profits from Blossom are contributed to various Chagrin area charities including the operation of the police department’s safety town previously discussed. The village provides approximately 1250 hours annually for trash pickup, sidewalk cleaning, landscaping, watering the flower baskets that are not on an automatic irrigation system, maintenance on the irrigation system, and snow removal in the downtown area. Of the 8775 + total hours spent on Downtown beautification, your service department contributes 14% of the total hours, the remaining 86% are provided by volunteer labor. It truly takes a village to maintain The Village.

What does this all cost? The 2016 budget for the street department is approximately $1,500,000. This works out to $341.00 per resident per year or $6.60 per week. I think this is a pretty reasonable cost for maintaining the Village character that brought us to Chagrin in the first place.

Mayor Bill Tomko

Village Budget Explained: Your Police Department and What It Costs You

CF-Police CarIn the last five years, no department of Village government has orchestrated as much change as the Village police department. Much like the fire department, your police department provides many more valuable services than can be seen daily by residents. In addition to the patrols you see on the streets, the police department provides many other services including all 911 dispatch, a wide variety special situation services (e.g. SWAT, etc. – see list below), and safety promotion services such as safety town for young children.

Nine years ago in 2007 the village police department recognized the need to provide a wide range of safety services beyond traditional police patrolling. To provide our residents with these services they formed the first council of governments; the Valley Enforcement Group Regional Council of Governments (VEG). The VEG functions much like the fire department’s regionalized hazardous materials and rescue group. VEG provides to the village:

1. SWAT team to respond to special situations, this SWAT team has an armored vehicle together with a mobile command center;
2. A specially trained hostage negotiations team;
3. Major traffic Accident Investigation Unit which assumes the responsibility for traffic accidents that result in death or serious physical injury;
4. A criminal investigation unit;
5. Child Abduction Response Team to provide quick response to reports of a child being abducted;
6. Continuing education together with specialized training and;
7. Fire arms training and qualification.

This basket of services costs the village $7,000 per year or a $1.20 per resident per year.

Prior to 2014 the Village maintained a small regional dispatch center (where your 911 calls are answered) that was located within the village police department. In response to evolving requirements and demands, the village in 2013 formed a second council of governments to take over the dispatch function and to share the cost of facility and required equipment upgrades on a wider basis. This council of governments is today composed of 15 governmental authorities. Today this dispatch center is located in the basement of Bedford Hospital. University Hospitals has leased these facilities to the council of governments for a $1.00 per year. As a regionalized council of governments we have shared the $1,330,000 costs of required capital equipment, upgrades and facility remodeling with the other communities. Your village’s share of this capital expense was $139,000, and results in the village saving hundreds of thousands of dollar in comparison to what it would have spent if the dispatch function was kept as a regional small dispatch center. The end result of forming this council of is governments is that the village gets a state of the art dispatch center which is fully compliant with all state requirements while reducing the village annual dispatch operating cost by $25,000. The village’s projected annual dispatch center costs are approximately $180,000. This equates to $42.86 per resident per year or $0.82 per week for processing all police and fire 911 calls.

The traditional policing function includes safety promotion in addition to the patrolling that you see every day. Safety promotion includes the running of the annual Safety Town, Bike Rodeo for younger children and the Your Life Your Choice program for teenagers.

1. Safety Town is geared for the children just entering kindergarten and is a two week program given for 2 hours per day. It teaches children basic street safety, bike safety, how to call 911, how to respond to strangers. In addition, together with the fire department, they operate a fire trailer where the children are taught how to best survive a house fire and respond to their clothing catching fire.
2. The Bike Rodeo is geared toward older children and focuses on a bike safety inspection, minor bike repair, bike handling course and review of bike safety laws. It also includes a ride around town with the Chagrin and South Russell bike patrol officers
3. Your Life Your Choice program is usually presented at Prom time and focuses on the issues of alcohol and drug usage and impaired driving. Last year’s program was given in conjunction with the Geauga Sheriff’s department to the Chagrin Falls High School and surrounding communities over 1,500 students participated.

These safety promotion efforts did not cost any tax dollars. The cost of these programs was provided by private donations, the Jaycees, and proceeds from the annual Chili cook off.
The patrolling function of the village is provided by 11 full time officers and 8 permanent part time officers or on total hours worked basis 12.3 full time patrol officers’ equivalents. These 12.3 officers provide 24/7 protection to you every day of the year. How do the village police department’s employment levels compare to surrounding communities on a policeman per resident basis, the village has one patrol officer for every 338 residents. An equivalent measure for surrounding communities varies from a low of 214 to a high of 379. Perhaps a more meaningful measure of the demand on our department’s available time is the dispatch calls per officer. In 2015 Village had 828 dispatch calls per officer. Surrounding communities’ calls per officer varied from a high of 695 to a low of 325. Our officers answered 20% more calls than the next highest area community. In addition to dispatch calls, our officers made 1,768 traffic stops. I have been asked why we need 2 patrolmen on the street at night, the answer is officer safety and not leaving the village unprotected while an officer transports a DUI arrest for instance to Solon jail. I need to point out clearly and strongly that 37% of our total dispatch calls are at night. Many night dispatch calls may involve alcohol, drugs or domestic disputes. These are among the most volatile situations for an officer to handle and potentially may turn violent. Officer safety demands 2 officers are dispatched to these calls. Our practice of having 2 officers on duty at night is prudent for both officer and resident safety, and justified by the dispatch call volume/work load.
What does the patrolling function of our police department cost? In total, $1,600,000.00 or $381.00 per resident per year or $7.35 per week; about the cost of eating a meal at McDonalds.
The total cost of providing you with all police patrolling, safety promotion and dispatch function is $8.20 per resident per week.
Mayor Bill Tomko

Heinen’s Presents Plans

The long awaited arrival of a Heinen’s grocery store in the space previously occupied by Giant Eagle is moving ahead.  Heinen’s has submitted a new preliminary design for the building renovations.

The Architectural Review Board will be reviewing these plans at their regular meeting on Tuesday February 16th at 8:30am in the council chambers in Village Hall.  Any interested members of the public are encourage to attend.

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